I have a friend who only drinks Starbucks coffee. If we get together on a weekend morning to hang out, go from brunch, shop, or hit the local farmers market, we pretty much hit two coffee shops, mine and hers. Or we meet up after we’ve each hit our respective hot spot.
No matter where we are in our travels, I want the small, local joint and she wants her Starbucks. I am willing to risk the experience and taste. She wants to know exactly what she’s getting.
I know she’s not alone, it’s the business model that made McDonalds and countless other chains – food and otherwise – hugely successful. We human beings tend to be creatures of habit. We like the familiar because…well…it’s familiar, we know what to expect.
On my way through the airport a while back I had to settle for a Starbucks. In my last minute scramble to pack and get to the airport (I am a notoriously last minute packer) I didn’t have time to head over to my neighbourhood coffee shop for the usual morning cuppa.
My thinking was, better poor coffee than no coffee — it’s true, I have accidently become a coffee snob. But after my first sip I wasn’t so sure. A latte made from an automated machine simply doesn’t taste like a barista-made latte, even with 3 shots. The rich coffee flavour isn’t there.
It got me to thinking. Consistency, whether in coffee or hamburgers, doesn’t actually mean it’s good. Sometimes what’s good about an experience is that each time is just a little bit different.